Autumn Season

 

Sunday December 17th at 7pm

The Apartment (1960)

USA 1960, 125 minutes, PG certificate

Directed by Billy Wilder, starring Jack Lemmon, Shirley Maclaine, Fred MacMurray

Our Christmas movie this year is an absolute gem, arguably the best of Wilder’s illustrious career.

There are not exactly any elves or reindeer, but it qualifies as a Christmas movie: the story comes to a head during the holiday season, replete with booze-soaked office parties, flirting and drunken fumbling, silly party hats and whistles, and a snowy New York City. Oh, and a bit of loneliness, melancholy, heartbreak and romantic yearning – this is a film about real life, you understand, not the fantasy family yuletide.

Lemmon is CC Baxter, a single man with his own apartment in a brownstone on the upper west side. His problem is, he can seldom go there in the evenings. His superiors at work have an arrangement with him, using the apartment to take their girlfriends and secretaries to, bullying Baxter with promises of big bucks and an office of his own, and threats of what will happen if he refuses to play ball. So Baxter goes along with it, managing a complex Cardex booking system, trudging the streets until it is safe to go home, and taking an earbashing from his decent neighbours who think it is him partying every night with a string of different women. He is also secretly in love with the elevator operator, MacClaine’s Miss Kubelik, but hasn’t succeeded in asking her out.

Wilder made this critique of office sleaze, sexual harassment and bullying – and the perspectives of the women involved – long before Mad Men colonised the same territory.

Given recent events the film feels fresh and resonant – perhaps less of a comedy than it once was, and more melancholy. Sharp, poignant and heartwarming, with the spice of a mince pie and a kick like a very dry martini, please join us to share a real Christmas cracker.

This will be FREE ENTRY to celebrate the season and a great year of film. Tickets on the door only.